Thursday, November 01, 2007

An Uneven Road to Perfection: BECCA Complexion Products

You know all those regurgitated magazine articles about the most common makeup mistakes and no-nos: The obvious foundation on the jawline, the dark lip liner with pink lipstick, the unblended eyeshadow... It's all true, but no longer as common as it once used to be. People do learn, eventually. What's far more common is the half-done makeup: You see a woman who obviously took the time to carefully do her eye makeup, maybe even curled her lashes, chose the right lip color and dabbed on some gloss, but the problem is that she did all that on an uneven surface or skipped a step in the complexion perfection routine. And it shows.

(Another complexion pet peeve is the over-buffing of mineral makeup that results in an unnatural shiny mask. One day when we look back at makeup blunders of this decade, this is going to be at the top of every list, together with excessive smoky eyes that reach the apple of one's cheek, but that's a discussion for another day.)

Once upon a time, before primers appeared on the market, it used to be hard to keep a natural, even face without having to redo the whole thing mid-day. Thankfully, we now have eye primers that do not let eyeshadow crease or fade, and face primers that help us keep up appearances from day to night. They come in two formulas: Clear silicon, like the excellent Smashbox Photo Finish, that glides over the skin and smoothing it, and thin creamy ones that melt into the skin, refining its texture (like the Sephora brand, Shiseido Smoothing Veil and many others).

BECCA Silky Hydrating Primer belongs to the latter group. It's supposed to be a moisturizer as well as a primer, but I wouldn't recommend giving up your usual product. It worked well on top of my regular cream and did a good job at keeping the skin supple and my makeup in place for long hours. The texture is very thin, and since it comes in a regular tube, it dispenses more than needed and is quite wastefull.

The primer worked better with my regular Chanel foundation than with BECCA's own Luminous Skin Color, but that's not really surprising since the LSC is more of a tinted moisturizer than a full-blown foundation. As such, it's lighter in coverage and quite sheer. It feels pleasant on the skin and gives it a nice, healthy finish. I really liked the way it looked: Fresh but without that silly dewey look many light products give. I liked less the way the pump bottle works: It's so squirty, I'm constantly having to wipe the lotion of various surfaces in my bathroom.
Since the coverage is so light, this product requires a touch of concealer on problem areas underneath.

BECCA's compact concealer is a two-in-one deal. You get two intensity levels of coverage: medium and extra. Both are quite thick, which makes blending tricky, especially in the eye area. Also, all the concealer brushes I own are quite useless with this texture. It only works with fingers, which isn't the most hygienic thing ever. The coverage is better than many other concealer I've tried, but the blending issue is a big one in a product that needs to not be seen. The biggest flaw is in the packaging: You need to keep the little plastic insert that tells you which side is which, because you really don't want the pasty extra coverage under your eyes. Believe me: I tried. Quite annoying.

The finishing touch for every well-made face is powder. The one BECCA is offering is loose, very fine milled and gives a truly fabulous, natural look (lovely finish that blends perfectly with the skin and never looks powdered), but only if one manages to work the correct amount, because the packaging, again, doesn't make it easy. What I do, is get some powder on the puff, and then swipe a brush over it. It's a bit of a hassle, even if the results are good.


  1. I would think that the absolute worst thing for fragile under-eye skin is to be using a product that your description makes sound like spackle.

  2. Tom, you're right. The extreme coverage is definitely not for that area, but it sure hides my three freckles better than most other concealers.

  3. I didn't mean the coverage- I meant having to apply it. I never want to apply anything to my eyes that pulls that skin ever.

  4. I try the smokey eye makeup after applying concealer and it has glamorous effects.


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